Friday, January 24, 2014

ImagiNation music & culture

I was the happy recipient of another Xmas present from Daniel this year. I purchased these figures from Eureka last year and was grateful to take Daniel up on his Xmas offer to paint them for me. So, off to Quebec they winged and when I was visiting at Xmas, I was more than glad to pick up the finished product. This group of musicians will form the personal culture escort to Le Grand-Duc de Gourmandie. You'll notice they are only temporarily based because I haven't quite decided how to display them on the table.

String quartet with clavichord and flute. They are all dressed in the house colours of the Grand-Duc...purple. The flute player is advertised as Frederick the Great and the keyboardist as Bach but in my ImagiNation they are just part of the band.
The strings!



The that hair!
Nobleman with dogs. Again this is advertised as Frederick the Great but I think I may use this as the Grand-Duc himself.

In an attempt to solve the problem of how to display these new figures on the table, I thought that perhaps a wagon, drawn by six snow-white oxen. They could be moved about the army, spreading music and culture among the troops (after all, le Grand-Duc is a great supporter of the arts and believes all his subjects, including the army, should benefit from his ... beneficence).

Ox-cart available for Warlord Games.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Back to the Carlist Wars!

Vidal and I met Sunday for the first time in a while and decided to pull out the Carlist Wars collection. I've had a hankering of late to go back to Sharp Practice and what better collection than the Carlists (where I think my first experience with TFL rules occurred). The full scenario outline is at the end of this post. I modified it from Scenario 15 in the Compleat Fondler, TFL's scenario companion to SP.

For now, some pics...

Overview of the table with the Isabellino blinds deployed. 

 Vidal deploys the BAL redcoats across the road, personally commanded by Major Fondler. 

The general's gold-laden carriage arrives in the village while Carlist infantry deploys to clear the way. 

Carlist cavalry wends its way excruciatingly along a narrow track. Cavalry off the track is no better than infantry (and actually much worse). This proved a futile effort to get around the Isabellino defences.
Another shot of the Carlist infantry clearing the immediate environs of the village. 

Unfortunately, the carriage never made it farther than the village. Major Fondler's rifles and redcoats effectively blocked the way north. His Status IV rating, combined with the devastating fire of the rifles, was difficult to counter. Ultimately, General del Pene Grande escaped back south with his gold. A victory for the Isabellinos but marred somewhat by their inability to capture the gold.

The good news (or bad, depending on one's perspective) is that the game inspired me to order more Carlist infantry from Perry Miniatures. I think next time a higher level game using Field of Battle.

Isabellino Briefing

With just forty men of the British Legion, Major Fondler is patrolling high in the mountains in search of General del Pene Grande who, it is said, is attempting to return to Don Carlos, abandoning the Carlist forces still in Northern Spain.

Fondler must place his men to cover the numerous paths that cross the mountains in this area. He may deploy anywhere on the table on blinds from the farming hamlet upwards to the northern edge.

The Isabellino force is made of Major Richard Fondler, status IV, Sergeant Paisley, status III and Lieutenant Harry Cost, status II. They have 18 British and Isabellino riflemen (in three groups of six) and 24 redcoats. One of the British rifles is a chosen man.


Major Richard Fondler rates a Cock o’ the Walk, is a strapping fellow and a handsome Devil. He is a popular cove despite his background in the orphanage and as an enlisted man. He is a fair hand with the sword but is a novice in the saddle. He is honourable and lion-hearted but, being something of a ladies’ man, is lecherous.

Lieutenant Harry Cost is a fine, strapping fellow with a handsome face. He is a popular cove, a general’s son who is a fair hand with the sword and an accomplished horseman. He is charismatic and something of a ladies’ man; however, he manages to suppress the results of that with mercury.

Sergeant Paisley is not an officer; however, it is important to note that he is a giant of a man who is capable of feats of strength beyond ordinary men. He should get +2 when attempting tasks involving strength.

Carlist Briefing
General del Pene Grande is not sorry to be leaving northern Spain. He has been fighting there for several years and whilst the good times were indeed good, the bad times were truly abysmal. The Isabellinos (and especially their foreign mercenaries) never knew when they were beaten; had they been sane and reasonable men they would have sued for peace and returned to their dismal capital but they did not. They fought on and in the end they are on the verge of winning this heinous war.

So now the remaining Carlist garrisons of northern Spain will have to fend for themselves. The General will return to Don Carlos and report that northern Spain is lost. What will become of Don Carlos’ claim to the throne now?

General del Pene Grande is leaving northern Spain by the mountain passes, taking with him his war chest of 12,000 gold pieces and a small escort. Eighteen cavalrymen and 18 light infantrymen lead the way, with 24 infantrymen guarding the carriage with the money.

The cavalry are organized into three groups of six men under Capitaine C├ęsar Herrara del Estomago, status III. The light infantry are in three groups of six under Sargento Primero Baldomero, status III. The 24 infantry are in three groups of eight under Teniente Primero Gutierrez-Enfermo, status II and Sargento Valderemo, status II. The French begin the game on blinds on the road on the southern table edge.


General del Pene Grande is a Jolly Good Chap with an average stamp. He is a handsome Devil (although fading now with years to be Fair of Face) but is disliked by his men. He is new money; he was a knife sharpener in a small village, until Don Carlos put forth his claim to the throne when his father made a fortune producing bayonets for the army. He is a fair hand with the sword and an accomplished horseman, apart from when he has an attack of hemorrhoids. He is a Cad, both lecherous (undoubtedly a ladies’ man) and proud; however, he does not directly control any troops in this game, so this is not a problem for him.

Capitaine del Estomago rates as a Jolly Good Chap, is of average stamp but is very proud of his boyish looks (although they are fading after several years of war). He is from a well-to-do family who made their money selling arms to Don Carlos but try as he might his men do not like him. He is, however, an accomplished swordsman and an excellent rider. He is also chivalrous and a man of letters.

Teniente Primero Gutierrez-Enfermo is a fine fellow and a giant of a man with a fair and open face who is popular cove. He is from new money; his father trades horses and he has done well form the war. He is a fair hand with the sword and an accomplished horseman. He is an honourable man of letters but bitter that he has been passed over for promotion countless times. Maybe this is his chance to get his reward, maybe save the life of the General, maybe saving the gold for Don Carlos?

Game Notes

The mountains are notoriously rugged and the general has chosen one of the harshest areas to cross them. Already frost can be seen at this altitude despite it being September.

Only the roads and paths are passable to mounted cavalry and the carriage. The money is heavy enough to ensure the carriage may not be abandoned without leaving behind most of the money. Cavalry may only ride faster than a walk on the road itself. The off-road areas are broken and rocky, reducing all movement by -1 pip per movement die, with the rocky areas shown reducing it by -2 pips per movement die. Anywhere off-road can give light cover to troops operating in it. The few bare trees are ornamental, providing no cover. The buildings are solid stone and provide good cover, albeit with small windows and doors from which to fire.

The Isabellinos may deploy anywhere on the table as far south as the farm itself. The Carlists begin the game on blinds on the road on the southern table edge.

Game Cards

Major Fondler (IV)
General del Pene Grande
Lieutenant Cost (II)
Capitaine del Estomago (III)
Sergeant Paisley (III)
Teniente Primero Gutierrez-Enfermo (II)
Grasp the Nettle II
Sargento Primero Baldomero (III)
Grasp the Nettle III
Sargento Valderemo (II)
Sharp Practice
Captar el Gazpacho II
Captar el Gazpacho III

Bonus Cards

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Really? A new project?

So, what's been happening? While Daniel has been jumping off on his Boer War project (see previous posts) and Phil has been languishing in his painting doldrums, I have not been completely idle. While in Quebec visiting Daniel over the Xmas break, I was able to see Daniel's progress on the Boer War. He's made some nice progress on figure-painting but, truth be told, although I wouldn't mind gaming the conflict, his attempts to lure me into painting and collecting as well didn't work. The Old Glory figures he's using are nice and his painting, as usual, is great but they don't seem to catch my imagination. Given my disinterest, the general conversation turned to what we could do as a group project that could satisfy us both. Now by group I should mention we meant at the time just the two of us (this has subsequently grown to include Phil but more of that anon).

We want a project wherein we could both collect both sides and get together two or three times a year to combine the collections and game. Given our geographical separation, two or three times a year may even be a little generous. But hopefully, the cooperative nature of the project could at least provide some painting incentive and maybe even some campaign possibilities.

Some criteria that would need to be at least partially satisfied for this project:

1) Small armies (or collections, more accurately): This one is particularly important for me since my painting output is lethargic at best. It would also mitigate the cost issue (although that seems always to have escaped me historically).

2) Singly-based figures: We've both come to like this option. It allows skirmish-style gaming and larger unit games using movement trays.

3) Colour: There needs to be some colour-based aesthetic attraction. While Daniel's Boer War figures are attractive in a Khaki kinda way, they don't really excite my visual senses. So, basically, little or no Khaki.

4) Exotic: It can't be one of the big gaming periods or genres. It doesn't need to be as obscure as the War of Jenkins Ear but does need to be out of the mainstream.

5) Figures: Obviously, there need to be figures available. Even better would be if there is an acceptable Old Glory range since Daniel and I just bought a new membership to take advantage of the 40% discount.

6) Ability to game large or small actions with the same collection: This is addressed partially by basing the figures singly but more to the point we're looking for a genre/period that would lend itself to small skirmish actions or larger unit engagements. Old West is an example for me of skirmish gaming that can't really be translated to larger unit actions (besides, Daniel already has an extensive Old West collection). We envisage figure collections where groups of figures could be used for 1:1 skirmishes with singly-based figures (say 10-12 figure groups as in Sharp Practice) or larger company/battalion-style games using the same 10-12 figure groups. It requires only a change of perspective (and perhaps rules, of course).

7) Research material (somewhat readily) available: I don't really want to turn this into a research project where I'm ordering rare primary resources from dusty archives. But a certain level of research and  learning is always interesting and entertaining. Are there Ospreys available to begin? What other resources are readily available? Campaign overviews, battle reports, uniform and organization information?

8) Variety: Not just in uniforms but also in organizations, battle types, even cultures.

After bandying about a few possibilities, we finally settled on....

The Boxer Rebellion!!
  • Small groups of European and Chinese troops in a bewildering variety: Italians, Russians, Germans, Brits, Japanese, Austro-Hungarians, USMC, naval landing parties, river gunboats, Chinese regulars, Boxers with swords and various sharp implements! Naval artillery, machine guns, Cossacks, trains, and Charlton Heston!!
  • Old Glory has a nice range that covers most (if not all) of the European powers and the Chinese and Boxers. Uniforms come in a great variety of colours from the white and green of the Russians to the red and blue of the Japanese (not to mention the red, black and yellow of the Boxers!).
  • Small skirmish actions (in and about the Legation Quarter in Peking...see 55 Days at Peking with Charlton Heston as incentive!) and larger actions involving the relief forces moving towards Peking.
  • Gunboats patrolling the river while landing parties assault river forts with modern artillery.
  • Available research material inlcuding uniform info (two Ospreys exist and a fair bit of info on the interwebs too).
  • Variety in uniforms, organizations, battle types (skirmish and larger), terrain (urban Peking and open field engagements along the river), and cultures.
  • Did I mention the Bengal Lancers?
And to make it even better, it took little effort to recruit Phil into the madness. The first order for figures has winged its way to Old Glory and we've all been persuing the Ospreys.  More to come....

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Boer War Terrain

     Continuing on with my recent bout of productivity, I thought I would display my recent terrain creations for my burgeoning Boer War project. I needed a surface to recreate the South African veldt over which my figures could be used. I've opted for a ground mat rather than terrain squares (as with my WW1 project). This was done primarily so I could place hills underneath the mat to create undulating terrain, but also in order to streamline storage and transport.

      I began with a simple wool army blanket, much like the ones used by firemen or first responders to warm victims. On top of this I put a thick layer of sand coloured latex based primer. While this was still wet I sprinkled fine construction sand. The results at this stage can be seen below:

Wool blanket w/ latex primer and construction sand. 
I used the construction sand in order to help give the surface a bit of texture and grit, while I chose latex based primer as it would prove to be more flexible once dry. Next, I put a very thick coat of the same sand coloured latex primer on top of the first coat (and construction sand). Once this was dry, I found that I had a very durable yet flexible surface to work with. The results of this stage can be seen below:

After the second coat of primer.
 After doing extensive research (read: google), I found that for the South African veldt I should be using a palet of greens, browns, and tans. I purchased some cheap dollar store craft paints for this purpose. Upon watering down these craft paints approximately 3:1, I used a large brush and painted them each on in large swatches. The results of this can be seen below:

Coloured swatches applied.
 I still was not yet happy with the results at this point. The colours seemed to distinct; there was not enough of a blend between them. I opted for some highlighting to solve the problem. I applied a heavy drybrush of very light brown (read: white with a hint of brown). On top of this I applied a light highlight of pure white, finishing the job. With a light sprinkling of ground foam ("smegma") I had lying around I had a complete ground mat.

Rolled up for easy storage

I left the sides unpainted so they could fold in upon rolling in order to contain all the "smegma"
I still have yet to perfect my system of hills. At the moment I am just using simple blobbish shapes cut from 1" pink insulation foam. 

With hills underneath.
 I am still working on more terrain required for this project, but I was able to scrounge enough to make a decent looking scene. I found a forgotten bag of spanish moss and put it to good use as scraggly patches of bush. The river is leftover from my previous Old West collection. Below are just some pics showing off the collection so far on the new mat.

Next time I will be constructing rocky outcroppings to turn these rolling hills into more abrupt South African "kopjes".

Saturday, January 4, 2014

New Boer War figs

Happy new year to all. I recently finished a few more figures for my budding Boer War project and I thought I might share the results. All figures are from Old Glory.

British maxim gun on cavalry carriage

British maxim gun on cavalry carriage

British mounted officer

British mounted officer

Royal Artillery 9pdr RML w/crew

Royal Artillery 9pdr RML w/crew

British infantry company

Boer commando